Biola’s most demanding expenses explained
Faculty and staff salary most directly affect the cost of attending Biola. | Nicole Landon/THE CHIMES
With a new budget of almost $5 million less than last year due to a smaller undergraduate class, Biola has increased scholarships by over $2 million.
The decreased spending in the budget spans across different areas. For instance, operating fees have seen a 68.08 percent decrease in funds as well as a 12.42 percent decrease in group insurance for personnel. These are ways in which the university must budget in order to make these costs feasible for both the university and its students.
Biola’s budget revolves around sustainment of personnel, which includes salary and employee benefits, according to vice president of business and affairs Michael Pierce. This area alone has seen a decrease of 2.88 percent, about $2 million, since last year.
“The biggest costs in Biola’s budget are really around headcount,” Pierce said. “So, we have faculty, we have staff here, and so the biggest cost here is around salary and benefits for the employees. We’re a service-oriented entity, and so the cost is really around personnel.”
The university has to compensate for changes out of their control. When things like this happen, Biola has to find a way to budget differently, which can directly impact student costs.
“Biola is a tuition-dependent institution, and so we are dependent upon students,” Pierce said. “And so when there’s a cost increase, for example, if there’s a health care increase, we have two choices, really. We can either increase tuition, or we can cut expenses elsewhere.”
As minimum wage for students rises, there are ways the university must cut back, university budget assistant director of the Alanna Godoy shared. In this circumstance, that means full-time staff salary will not increase as much.
“Student wages have been increasing because California minimum wage is set to go up to 15 dollars an hour. So this January, it will go up to 11, and then a dollar per year every January after that,” Godoy said. “And then to help balance that out, the staff increases have not been increasing at the same rate. So that’s something we’re trying to prep for and be prepared because we have to pay it no matter what.”
PLANS OF A BRIGHT BIOLA FUTURE
Financial aid has increased by almost $2.5 million in the last year alone. Pierce believes Biola will appeal to more students if scholarships are higher.
“We want to have more students here, and if we can increase the number of students here, that will also help with the cost that we have at the university,” Pierce said. “So then we have more students who are paying tuition, as opposed to having an increase situation for the students that are existing here.”
However, freshman liberal studies major Sidney Livingston feels that she could have saved more money if she chose to attend a public university.
“I guess if I were to have gone to a state school, it would have been a lot cheaper. That’s what my sister did, and she has barely any debt, and she’s doing super good. It was just kind of a sacrifice that you have to pay,” Livingston said.
For Livingston, the decision to attend Biola was based on the quality of the school itself, despite the cost.
“I’ve just heard so many good things about Biola. Everyone that I know that has been there or that does go here always says it’s amazing,” Livingston said.